It's mid-term break here at the moment, which essentially meant the girls had a day off school (most other schools had a full week off). The kids and I had a brilliant day on Thursday, enjoying the fabulous weather and we spent the whole day in the park with some friends from school. The kids ran and played and burnt off loads of energy. I was looking forward to spending the whole day on Friday at the pool and beach, another full day outdoors.
I woke up Friday morning and looked outside, I wasn't sure whether it was fog or sand which had descended upon us. Hoping it was fog, I packed up the swimming bag. Fog is quite common here, especially at this time of the year. Except it wasn't fog, it was a sand storm. A fairly light storm and a soft breeze. I hoped it would soon pass. Except it didn't. The wind swept up and before long you could bare see a few metres away.
Sandstorms are fairly common here and in some ways they're just like a rain storm - they can come from nowhere and blow off in hour, or they can sit and last for days. This weekend's storm just got worse and worse and by Saturday lunchtime and the wind was crazy and there was sand whipping around a full speed, you could barely see in front of you. I stupidly left some washing on my balcony, which was quickly covered in a thick layer of sand. In fact, everything on the balcony was covered in a thick layer of sand. There's even a light layer of sand over most things inside the house.
We popped out yesterday and there was sand blowing everywhere. It was whipping across the road. You can feel it in your nose, taste it in the back of your throat, it coats your skin and makes your mouth gritty. It blinds you. All in all it's quite gross.
Thankfully, by nightfall it had started to recede. The winds dropped and the world became visible again. We popped into the kids school and poor old Lucy's school hat (which is kept in her cubby outside) had turned from maroon to beige, so covered in sand it was. I can't even face going on to my balcony and it's going to take a big scrubbing.
Here are a couple of dodgy videos I took to give you a little idea of what it's like, it doesn't translate very well and feels worse in real life that it looks on these films. As you can see though, the gutters fill with sand rather than water!